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The Pros and Cons of Self Publishing (& Traditional Publishing)

Here are the pros and cons of self publishing and traditional publishing, something every writer should consider before taking the leap in either direction.

I stumbled upon this great article from JA Konrath on his "A Newbie's Guide to Publishing." The piece focuses on how to make money on ebooks (if you have a minute I highly recommend reading the entire thing), but one section of the article really caught my eye (and should catch yours). Konrath breaks down the pros and cons of self publishing versus the pros and cons of traditionally publishing. It's spot on and something every writer should consider before taking the leap in either direction. Here's that slice:

self-publishing-writers-digest

Q: Should I forsake selling ebooks in order to try and land a print deal?

A: Let's look at the pros and cons of both sides.

Traditional Publishing Pros

  • Wide distribution and more exposure
  • Most offer an advance, sometimes a large one
  • They do the editing, formatting, cover art
  • Marketing power

Traditional Publishing Cons

  • Take six to eighteen months before publication
  • Price ebooks waaaaaay too high
  • They have power over cover art and title
  • Don't use the marketing power they wield effectively
  • Pay royalties twice a year
  • Don't involve you in many of the decisions regarding your book
  • Difficult to implement changes
  • Lousy royalty rates, between 6% and 25%
  • Very hard to break into

Self Publishing Pros

  • Paid once a month
  • You control price and cover
  • Publication is almost instant
  • Easy to implement changes
  • Every decision is yours
  • Great royalty rates
  • Anyone can do it

Self Publishing Cons

  • No free professional editing, formatting, or cover art
  • Fewer sales
  • Less than 10% of current book market
  • Greater potential to publish crappy books

You need to figure out what your goals are, and set them accordingly.

If you feel strongly that traditional publishing is still your route to success, be sure to follow the Guide to Literary Agents blog which continually offers great advice on landing a literary agent.

Seriously, bookmark Konrath's piece on how to make money on ebooks and read it when you have time.

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